Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Be the Verse: It Doesn't Matter What You Do

I have two poems for you today--one by Philip Larkin and one by J. Patrick Lewis

This Be the Verse
by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

You can read the rest of Larkin’s poem here.

About Philip Larkin
  • You can read out about poet Philip Larkin and find links to some of his poems here.
  • Not just about your mum and dad (An article about Philip Larkin by Joshua Weiner)

    J. Patrick Lewis

Here is a poem by J. Patrick Lewis—written in the style of This Be the Verse:

It Doesn’t Matter What You Do
After Philip Larkin

by J. Patrick Lewis

You fuck them up, your girl and boy.
It doesn’t matter what you do.
The latest theories you employ
Will make them flaming assholes, too.

And then, to maximize despair,
Greedy daughters and selfish sons
Repay your fine parental care
By breeding Young Republicans.


  1. I've always loved Larkin's poem, and Lewis' makes me snort with laughter...and give thanks that I never had kids!!!!!!!!!

  2. Pat,

    My husband loved your poem! Fortunately, I'm married to a man who appreciates this type of light verse.

  3. I remember the first time I heard the Larkin poem -- after I got over being shocked by poetry with "the F word" in it -- okay, I was in junior high -- I gave a rather sour smile. There's truth in them there words! Now Lewis' poem makes me giggle.

  4. Tanita,

    Both poems make my husband and me laugh. There's nothing like telling/writing/reading "truth" with a sly grin on your face.

  5. My opinion of J. Patrick Lewis just fell into the basement - but I understand he spent his life in academia, so that explains a lot.